Monthly Archives: April 2011

Republicans are Government Interventionists, Not Conservatives

montana-governorMissoula    The patterns are just too obvious now.  The Republicans are into Big Brother and total government control.  They are not conservatives at all!  It is such a mistake for any of us to get suckered into that slick trick.  What they really want it becomes increasingly clear is total government intervention, intrusion, and control of virtually every aspect of our lives.
I was actually struck by this reading The Missoulian before heading off the gird for a couple of days to check on how the Silver Bullet weathered the winter and prepare for whenever spring shows up for real here in Montana.  The article had to do with a tiff between the Governor of Montana and the Repub majority and his view of the unconstitutionality of what both houses of the legislature wanted to do to any poor suckers who had prescriptions for medical marijuana.
I’ll get to that, but the pattern became crystal clear suddenly.

It started with the police state requirements of last year’s unconstitutional, but frequently copied, Arizona anti-immigrant law and its requirements that folks to always have “papers” on them or risk a quick frisk and a trip to jail if they looked “out of the ordinary.”  Starting with profiling, police could then have someone on the bus to Mexico or beyond because they lacked ID.  Why did the Republicans want to allow government this kind of power to intrude on privacy and personal liberties?

Now we see it cropping up everywhere in the attempts to disenfranchise the poor, the young, or anyone else who seems different (read possibly Democratic) to Republican legislatures.  And, once again, it’s “big brother BS!”  Many of these bills require people to present their birth certificates in order to register and then have a “government approved” photo ID in order to vote.  These are the same people that don’t even believe President Obama’s birth certificate despite a small army of Hawaiians standing to certify it, so what chance is the average person going to have if there’s any kind of problem.  Furthermore, people better be prepared to pay to retrieve a certified copy of their birth certificates, because you can just imagine old Xerox editions are not going to cut it.  There are tens of thousands of people in my hometown of New Orleans alone who have NO original records anymore after Katrina.  Would they be denied the right to vote?

Montana’s Governor Brian Schweitzer is buckling at signing the so-called medical marijuana reform act in this state because he’s convinced it is unconstitutional as presented and passed by the Republicans.  Why?  Well, it requires having an ID on you at all times AND a copy of your prescription AT ALL TIMES.  The bill also requires that you be willing to submit to search of your house and property at any time by the police and other authorities, if you have a medical prescription.  The bill requires that your medical records be public and that you be listed as having such a prescription, just like a child molester, in any community where you live.  The Republicans did mess up.  They didn’t require an embedded GPS chip up your butt so they could track these suckers every minute of the day, but once they think of that, a new bill will be coming.  Schwietzer happens to be a Democrat, but he also happens not to be stupid.  He actually wants reform on this medical marijuana thing which has been a hot issue in the state ever sense folks from throughout the Northwest registered last year for prescriptions.
Nonetheless, the Republicans when left to their own instincts just want the government to intrude everywhere in the most authoritarian, police state ways imaginable.  This is not a pretty pattern.  It has nothing to do with being conservative.  It’s about brining a “cold war” into the country and using government as a tool to herd and punish, sort and select, and mainly to tilt the field and stack the deck their way.  There are no principles to any of Rthis; it’s just all about how the powers that be can use government to be as punitive as possible.

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Kris Kobach and Systematic Republican Vote Suppression

KrisKobach_StopVoterFraud_medMissoula One of the best lines in the great movie, The Outlaw Josie Wales, occurs when Clint Eastwood as Wales turns to Sandra Locke, the young woman, also his paramour at the time, and says, “is that what they teach young girls in Kansas.”  I’ve always thought that has to be one of the more unique pickup lines ever, but these days we all have to wonder what they teach anyone, especially in civics classes, in Kansas.   I have trouble blaming it all on the Kansas school system though since the real spit-stirrer in this anti-democratic mess is manipulative, self-servicing, and scheming Kris Kobach, who may have started school in Kansas but also counts Harvard, Oxford, and Yale Law School on his educational resume before he set out to destroy any semblance of democracy in Kansas and anywhere else with a mind for mess.

I’ve had my eye on this dude for a couple of years ever since I read – and saved, ok! – an article from the May 29, 2009 edition of the Salina, Kansas paper headlined, “ACORN Prompts Kobach to Run” in which some yahoo said he was running for Secretary of State in this fair state because of ACORN (http://www.saljournal.com/news/story/kobach-5-28-2009).  He was fired up that ACORN might topple the pillars of Kansas democracy through its organizing and voter registration work, and by god he was going to stop it by requiring birth certificates to be able to register to vote and then photo IDs to be able to vote.  I thought this was perversely hilarious, since I knew that when I left ACORN in mid-2008, almost three years ago, that ACORN was almost weaker than water in the state, and the ace reporter of the Salina Journal, couldn’t resist inserting in this crazy article that ACORN’s three offices in Kansas showed now email addresses on the ACORN website or working phones in May 2009, as Kobach saddled up to stop this Red menace.

I was wrong.  This guy was not just a cynical, prairie whack.  He was really a dangerous threat to democracy.  Having crawled on the dead body of ACORN to get elected, he has been a scourge to immigrants assisting in writing and promoting SB1090 the unconstitutional anti-immigrant bill in Arizona that has been copycatted in other states, and as frighteningly he has made good on his voter suppression promise and gotten a bill passed in Kansas that is also being copied widely to prevent as many lower income voters as possible from being able to participate in any pretense at democracy that we have left in America.

A New York Times editorial quoted the Brennan Center and didn’t play around:

A survey by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law found that 11 percent of citizens, 21 Bmillion people, do not have a current photo ID. That fraction increases to 15 percent of low-income voting-age citizens, 18 percent of young eligible voters and 25 percent of black eligible voters. Those demographic groups tend to vote Democratic, and Republicans are imposing requirements that they know many will be unable to meet.

In Kansas alone, “…because of that vast threat to Kansas democracy, an estimated 620,000 Kansas residents who lack a government ID now stand to lose their right to vote,”
according to the Times.

Eight states have some form of voter ID requirements, which amount of little more than harassment, though not surprisingly some of them have been upheld on Supreme Court challenges.  Another thirty states are proposing voter suppression, and given the number of states that Republican forces now control, this is big fat trouble for democracy.   Remember the earlier poll numbers.  Knockout 21,000,000 people and 15% of the lower income voting population, and that might be the margin in some places especially as I commented a couple of days ago given the limp efforts at voter registration and GOTV among these populations and the effective intimidation that the Republican hate machines have directed at various organizations and their likely donors.

This is really evil stuff!  More than tornadoes are coming out of Kansas and it’s really not about the children left behind in their schools, but about the people in the way of the right.  It won’t get better, until we get busy.

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